Wikipedia is a strange beast. On the one hand it’s a semi-accurate jumble of ill-researched opinion. On the other it’s a valuable source of information. You could almost use it as an example of the place where blogging – with its often cavalier attitude to the facts – meets journalism, with its emphasis on good research, sources and sensitivity to shades of meaning.
What better training ground then for people whose careers may depend on accurate research and actually teasing apart fact from fiction? Politics postgrads at the University of East Anglia are being asked to edit eight articles in the online encyclopedia, then write one of their own. Immediately they’re being wrenched from the stuffy, theory-driven world of academia to real-life situations where people will read what they write, and where their actions may have consequences. Meanwhile Wikipedia gets a tidy-up. A small one admittedly, but it can’t hurt to have some pages spring-cleaned by people trained in critical thought.
What a great idea. I love great ideas. I love it when someone really does add up two and two and gets four.